THE SECRET LIFE OF ZURRIE DRESDEN

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Chapter Six: Azurah- Beautiful Creatures

Although every fiber of my being is pushing for me to take one leap and quench this deep burn that’s now halfway down into my stomach. Something on a deeper level is cautioning me to stay in control. As much as I want to get this over with and get back to the coven, I’m going to go with my gut on this. For all I know, Draven’s inside and just waiting for me to make a rash decision; one that gives him the upper hand to take me out this time.

With my body still halfway hidden by the tree, I’m positioned at an angle where I still have an unobstructed view of both the human male and that horse that I am now guessing belongs to him. The way he speaks to the white beauty is with love, compassion, and adoration. His touch upon her mane is laced with a gentleness that only its owner would convey. The bond between the two continues to unfold as she takes a step just in front of him in a protective fashion. I duck back a bit as the two scan the surrounding area together. I can’t risk the human becoming curious if he catches a glimpse of my exposed ivory skin, upon my face, neck, or arms.

With the moon high in the sky tonight, the light may reflect off any unclothed areas of my body. Although my back is once more flattened against the tree trunk, I can hear the animal slamming her front legs into the ground repeatedly while she snaps her massive jaws out at the open space that surrounds them. She certainly is a feisty one, as she has just let me know she will fight for her life to protect her owner.

Pity, she’s such a fighter. It really makes things harder for both of us when they resist. I was kind of hoping to keep her as my pet. That was until her master appeared. He’s much more useful than any old horse. Oh, the things I can do to him…. with him….

The slamming of the door is my cue that he’s finally gotten her to calm down enough to go inside. I force myself to wait another few minutes before ascending upon the old shack. The more time that passes, the more I’ll catch them off guard, but I’m past the point of hunger now. These last few minutes have dragged by like hours and my patience has worn thin. I’m the predator and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand down to a schizoid horse.

My mind wills my body to the only window this shit hole has, and within an instant, I’m standing against it, looking in. The white beast is secured in her cell for the night. Her master whispers words of encouragement to her as he glides his hands across her face. From where I stand, she gives the illusion of understanding what he’s saying and communicating back to him. She takes a step in his direction and places her face flush with his.

As cold and hard as my heart has become over the last hundred years, the scene moves me. I have longed to have such a connection with a mate, of course. Instead, I have lived this dreadful existence alone. Feeling a bit uncomfortable with the emergence of feelings, I take control of myself.

Using my highly developed visual abilities, I zone in on the human male. He stands over six feet tall. His hair is like black silk as it falls an inch or so above his shoulders. I can see the outline of his chest and arms through the thin, wet fabric of his white shirt. The top two buttons are undone.

Without his knowledge, I will him to glance in my direction for a brief second, to gather a better look at his face. Although his eyes lock on mine, he doesn’t see me. I gasp at the sight of his flawless face. It’s his eyes that take my breath away. The reflective light casts off a near translucent hue of golden amber. His skin still holds a hint of the summer sun. One word escapes from between my lips. “Perfection.”

Breaking the spell he’s under, I step back and allow him his own free will. Shock and awe are written all over his face as he sets his eyes upon the wall ole man Draven constructed for the purposes of vampire extinction.

To my surprise, this is the first time he’s been here, or at least inside. “Who are you?” trails from my lips in silence.

His response has me perplexed and confused. Could his man with the body and face of a God be a groundskeeper? A passerby?

He spots the cedar box that holds the curse of a thousand witches. It’s in the corner at the back of the room. Legend has it that the Draven curse was placed on the container three generations back, performed by a thousand witches, and sealed with the blood of the first purebred vampire. They say that when a Draven male reaches the age of twenty-six, the blood that courses through their veins draws them here, to this very place. As each generation comes of age, they take their rightful place in the next generation of hunters.

Knots begin to tighten in my stomach as I stand watch. Can it be? He appears to be talking to someone, yet there’s no one in the shack with him. After what looks to be an internal struggle of some sort, he relaxes a bit. Reaching out, his hand makes contact with the crest symbol in the middle. As his finger glides along the interior of the carved emblem, his beautiful face takes on the look of panic. It appears he’s trying to pull his hand away, which he’s not successful. Blood drips from his fingers. The blood of the first of our kind.

I stand transfixed on the scene that’s unfolding before my very eyes. My ears tune into the deep thud of his heartbeat. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, echoes through my ears; so loud it’s almost deafening. He stumbles backward into the stable wall.

The minute his back hits against it, the white beast lifts herself from the floor and races to him. Her head hangs over the stall and she cries out to him. She rams her body into the corner, stretching her neck as far as she can, attempting to reach him. Once she’s positioned close enough for her nose to make contact with him, she repeatedly nudges at his shoulder.

Propelling all my weight off my left leg, I land square in front of the two of them. The white best grunts and snaps her teeth. In a panic to protect her master, she lifts herself onto her back legs and lunges her two front feet over the front of the gate. Her right hoof hits upon my left shoulder, as I misjudged her.

Not in the mood to take her down just yet, I lock eyes with her. In under thirty seconds, she calms and retreats to the back of the stall and lies down.

Crouching down, he’s even more beautiful than I initially thought. Excitement fills me for the first time in at least half a century. The scent of his true bloodline has surfaced. Taking in a deep breath, I hold it in for a few moments before exhaling.

The son of a Draven. Young, tender and just becoming of age. He begs for help. If I weren’t so heartless and blinded by revenge, maybe I’d offer some. On second thought, that would never happen.

Now only inches from his face, I can feel his warm exhalation upon my face. Licking my lips, I can’t resist hovering just in front of him. My cool breath mixes with his. The urge to touch him overcomes me. I want to know what is going to be like when his skin connects with mine when he belongs to me.

Running my hand down the length of his warm face gives me butterflies in the pit of my stomach. “Oh, yes… what a perfect mate you shall make.”

With a skip in my step, I’m off to eat. I wonder what’s on the menu tonight.


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